Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

April 5, 2023

Foiled! NIST Unwraps What’s Baking Under Aluminum in Its LabsIt’s National Bake Week here in the U.S. If you’re celebrating in your own kitchen, you may find yourself needing some aluminum foil. Whether you need a sheet of foil to keep that apple pie warm or you’re making something in an aluminum foil baking pan, foil has lots of uses in a baker’s kitchen. Here at NIST, we do a different kind of baking, but we often use the same foil you use in your own kitchen. You won’t see our creations on The Great British Baking Show, and you definitely don’t want to eat them.

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March 31, 2023

What Indiana Can Teach the Nation About Workforce DevelopmentManufacturing is Indiana’s largest industry sector, accounting for 26% of the state’s economic output and employing more than 520,000 Hoosiers. Cutting-edge partnerships, programs and collaborations have resulted in Indiana leading the nation in developing new and better manufacturing workers. As the manufacturing industry continues to evolve with new opportunities, Indiana remains committed to innovative collaborations that ensure awesome opportunities for Hoosiers, manufacturers and partners across the country. Find out more about what specifically makes Indiana a national leader in this critical area.

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March 24, 2023

Jessica Ingle: Continually ImprovingJessica Ingle is like a lot of women who are juggling work, family and life. And she’s managed to excel at it all, including her 18 years of climbing the career ladder at Impact Washington, the Washington state MEP Center and part of the MEP National NetworkTM. As she reflects on Women’s History Month, she’s thrilled to see more women joining the manufacturing world. “We can bring a unique perspective to this community that historically has been mostly male. And with new perspectives comes innovation,” Ingle says.

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March 17, 2023

A 10 Piece Tool Set to Drive EfficiencyAchieving business excellence within a company comes from optimizing a work environment to deliver desired goods and services. Lean manufacturing is a production method aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers. Companies employ this strategy to increase efficiency. By receiving goods only as they need them for the production process, it reduces inventory costs and waste, resulting in increased productivity and profit.

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March 8, 2023

The One Workforce Attraction and Retention Strategy You Probably Haven’t ConsideredWe know that the existing workforce development system isn’t working as efficiently as it could, so companies need to try every strategy in the book to retain their workers (rather than expect to replace departing workers with new ones).

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March 3, 2023

Asia Dillon: Making a Name for Herself as a ManufacturerAsia Dillon is not your average 15-year-old high school student in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has already made a name for herself as a manufacturer. Asia is the owner of Sassy A Cosmetics. Asia sees opportunities where others might not. For example, her younger sister suffers from eczema, which makes her lips so dry that they crack and peel. Asia’s sister didn’t like the lip balm their mother gave her. From this experience, Asia saw there was a need for a new and different kind of lip gloss. She wanted to create something that would soothe her sister’s lips – using all natural ingredients. Sassy A’s product line has grown to include lipsticks, lip creams and lip balms. With a love for science and for mixing things together, it’s easy to see how this ambitious teen ended up in the manufacturing industry.

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March 1, 2023

Transformational ChangeMany manufacturing companies, in North Dakota, are having record sales and deliveries as we are digging out from under the last few years. They are getting back to “Normal”, but many still struggle with supply chain issues, workforce issues and fighting fires every day.

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February 22, 2023

Rodney Reddic: Helping Texas Manufacturers SucceedFor more than 20 years, Rodney Reddic has been with the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC). He currently serves as TMAC’s Interim Executive Director. He has more than 30 years of experience working in the Texas manufacturing industrial base. Reddic enjoys helping manufacturers make improvements that streamline their production processes and eliminate unnecessary activities. He especially enjoys working with companies to develop new plant layouts. Improving processes also improves work quality of life for employees. Reddic feels deeply about the importance of TMAC’s mission and the work of the entire MEP National Network. He looks forward to continuing his service to TMAC and helping Texas manufacturers succeed.

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February 20, 2023

Toyin Kolawole: Lifelong Entrepreneur and Founder of Iya FoodsToyin Kolawole is the founder and CEO of Iya Foods, a nourishment-focused food company inspired by her African roots and located in Illinois. Toyin brought her childhood entrepreneurial life, education, career experience and home recipes together to found Iya Foods, a client of IMEC. Sharing these experiences with the world is at the very core of Iya Foods – its mission is “to share love through food.” “Manufacturing adds tangible value that truly makes people’s lives better. People have to eat, people need medicine, people need cars to get around. Manufacturing is unified in its purpose of producing items people want so they can be their best selves,” says Toyin. Toyin’s story is just one of many from across the MEP National Network that highlights the profound impact Black Americans have on the manufacturing industry. While February is Black History Month, their achievements and contributions to their communities and the country overall are seen year-round.

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February 16, 2023

Business Continuity Plans: Lessons Learned From Puerto RicoThe pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions have been harsh reminders of the need for manufacturers to create or update their business continuity plan (BCP). Disruptions of some sort are likely, and manufacturers must be prepared for all types of scenarios including natural disasters, technical failures and cyberattacks. Having a BCP already in place is essential for the initial response to a disruptive event. A BCP also enables manufacturers to continue operations and can help during an extended period of time.

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